A few photos from the Blackwater Draw Atlatl 2013.
Prehistory Day was successful, due to an excellent turnout, helpful volunteers, and great weather. A special thanks goes out to the members of Mu Alpha Nu and their friends for helping out again this year. Nearly 300 people turned out for the event which lasted all day with people trickling in until we closed at 5:00.
Demonstrations included fiber working, sandal making, flintknapping, and hunting techniques used by ancestral New Mexicans. Discussions ranged from general archaeology to gourd canteens, stone tools, and prehistoric containers.
The Portales flintknapping group, headed by Tommy Heflin, were a popular station at the event, helping create a new generation of flintknappers.
We hope to keep the public outreach events a regular occurrence at Blackwater Draw. Keep your eyes on the blog for future activities.
Mark your calendars for the Survival: New Mexico weekend at El Rancho de las Golondrinas near Santa Fe August 24th and 25th, 2013.
go to golondrinas.org to find out more.
A fun, and remarkably good-looking, mammoth sculpture in Bluff, Utah. Set to burn on the solstice to honor the mammoth petroglyphs found nearby. I love Bluff and wish I could get up there for the event.
This is the raw photo. It will undergo some cleanup via PhotoShop and we hope will become a postcard.
Robin Wood is a remarkable traditional craftsman from Britain. He has recently been involved with replicating the Dover Boat, a Bronze Age ship discovered in 1992 (see the news article here). The find is about 3500 years old, placing it right at the cusp of early metal-working technology.
The reconstruction is half-scale but staying true to the technology, they are attempting to use replicated tools for much of the construction. Pallstaves were cast from an original and hafted both like an adze and like an axe. This isn’t speculative as there are quite a number of preserved Bronze Age examples from wet contexts in Europe.
As with other ships and boats from the Neolithic and Bronze Age, ingenious methods were used to connect the planks and stiffen the hull. Technologically, these fall somewhere between composite dugouts and true framed ships. There are many factors in holding together a boat including lots of movement from all angles, swelling/shrinking of the planks, and the need for light weight. The solution on the Dover Boat was to stitch the entire thing together with yew “withes” and stiffen the body with heavy lathes driven through carved mortices.
It seems that a better candidate could not have been chosen to work on this project and I’m very glad to see that he is documenting it on his blog for all to see.
Clovis points from the Clovis site. These likely all date to a few centuries around 11,000 RCYBP and most were found in association with Mammuthus columbi and a few with Bison antiquus. The Clovis site contained at least 28 mammoths that died or were killed around the pond margin and there is good evidence that six or more were killed by humans.
As can be seen in this image, the raw materials were variable but high quality. Also notable are the small size of the points. Non-hunters often mistakenly think that a small point is for small prey but quite the opposite may be true. Until recently, small arrow points were used in Africa to bring down elephants, buffalo, and other large game. The object is to pierce a vital organ or artery and a wider blade needs more force to cut through hide to reach the protected organs. There was probably much more thought to the animal’s behavior and the situation of the kill and it may be no coincidence that all of the known mammoth and bison kills at the site are within the muddy pond margin.
The majority of raw materials are Edwards Plateau Chert or Alibates Agate from the Canadian River in Texas. Other materials include quartzite, likely procured in the upper reaches of the Canadian, Tecovas jasper from north Texas, silicified wood, and obsidian.
More to come…